Socialist Worker

Local government workers consulting on action

by Nick Ruff
Issue No. 2054

“We are committed to supporting effective industrial action if this is what is needed to secure a fair pay deal.”

Those were the words of Heather Wakefield, the Unison union’s head of local government, as Unison launched its campaign to oppose a 2 percent pay offer last week.

This was in response to the employers confirming that they would stick with Gordon Brown’s 2 percent pay limit. They did indicate that they may increase it to 2.5 percent.

Neither 2 or 2.5 percent is acceptable to over 700,000 Unison members in local government. With inflation at 4.5 percent and local government workers having just finished a three year pay agreement, it is the time to fight for decent pay.

Unison are asking branches to consult members as to whether they are prepared to take action in pursuit of a

5 percent pay rise or £1,000, whichever is higher.

Branches must ensure the widest possible consultation and argue that we need to take action alongside other workers.

Heather Wakefield said, “If there were to be industrial action, we should attempt to maximise the impact by acting alongside other public sector workers and unions.”

This, and Unison leader Dave Prentis’s letter to the PCS civil service workers’ union calling for coordinated action, should be seized upon by every activist.

Local government workers face the reality of years of below inflation increases, increases in pension contributions and pay cuts due to single status.

Branches should organise section meetings across local authorities and rallies in every area alongside other public sector unions.

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Article information

Tue 5 Jun 2007, 19:11 BST
Issue No. 2054
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